The Puckeridge and Essex Union Hunt have today (Wednesday 26 July) been issued a Community Protection Notice (CPN) in relation to allegations of ongoing anti-social behaviour (ASB).
The notice was issued following an investigation by officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Rural Operational Support Team (ROST).
The group, which is a trail hunt now based in Dunmow, Essex, was formerly known as The Puckeridge Hunt until it merged with the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt.
It had previously been issued with a Community Protection Warning (CPW) in 2022 after multiple reports of ASB by members of the group. The Essex Hunt was also issued a CPW in 2022 by Essex Police.
However, the behaviour continued, leading rural officers to seek a full CPN.
The CPN sets out a list of 16 actions that the Hunt will be expected to comply with, in order to manage the behaviour of its members and their actions, and to curtail the ASB.
If the conditions are not met, or there are further incidents of ASB related to the group, the Hunt could face a court summons.
A spokesperson for the ROST, said: “Attempts have been to engage with the Hunt and put a stop to the numerous reports of ASB. Unfortunately, the behaviour has continued and we were left with no choice but to seek this order.
“I hope this provides some reassurance to those who have been affected by their actions.
“If you are a victim of ASB from the Hunt members, staff or its supporters then you are encouraged to please report this to police as soon as possible.”
Conditions of the CPN:
Create a map of where every/all trail(s) is (are) laid – recording this on video on every hunt or training event and provide a copy of the same map and copies of trails within 48 hours of police request.
Have a trail hunt member present with a copy of the map and knowledge of where the trail is laid on every hunt or training event/day.
If the hunt goes off trail, then the trail hunt is to be suspended immediately to reconnect with trail.
If control of dogs is lost, then the trail hunt is to be suspended and dogs recalled with trail hunt only continuing when full control is gained.
Take steps to ensure that no member of the hunt shall trespass on private land or public/common land where no permission is given/allowed and take action in relation to any member who is shown to have trespassed.
Not to enter nature reserves or on any SSSI (sites of specific scientific interest) under any circumstances.
Gain prior written permission from any landowners giving permission for their land to be used for trail hunting activities and have one person present with a copy of permissions for land use on any and all hunt days or training events.
Not to block or cause disruption to the highway and to consider applications for traffic management orders (TMO) when it is reasonably foreseeable that a disruption to the highway will cause local issues (such as larger meets, for example boxing day) or alternatively, make an application for a TMO where the hunt is likely to be active in relation to areas of public highway.
Not to allow hunt hounds to be loose in the vehicular / pedestrian carriageway and in such a manner as to be likely to cause a nuisance to road users.
To endeavour to pick up hound faeces that left on the verge, highway, byway or other public places (not inclusive of the vehicular carriageway).
Take steps to ensure that no member of the hunt shall abuse members of the public or landowners when being asked for information or requesting the trail hunt leave their land or remove the dogs from the road and take disciplinary action against any such member where applicable.
Notify police at least 24 hours in advance when and where a trail hunt (event or otherwise) is to occur by contacting the local team liaison or via force control room (101 or e-mail) and provide a map of area where the hunt trail(s) will be set including proposed crossing points of public highways.
Notify police at least 24 hours in advance hunt staff will be participating in and all pre-hunt activity (e.g. cubbing season or unofficial hunt days) and provide details of who will be present and where/when (date/time) this activity will take place.
Take steps to ensure that no member shall act in a manner that is likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to others when in a public or private place, this includes words or behaviour that are offensive, threatening or abusive and can be towards members of the public or police.
Have a list of members who are riding/working with/for the hunt available for police on event days (including support staff/terrier men).
The Puckeridge Hunt will engage with the police in respect of the requirements above and provide evidence of all and any steps they have taken to secure compliance, promptly when and if required to do so.